Warriors

NCAA to rule potential Warriors draft target James Wiseman eligible

wisemanap.jpg
AP

NCAA to rule potential Warriors draft target James Wiseman eligible

The NCAA is stupid, but you already knew that.

After ruling Memphis center James Wiseman -- the presumptive No. 1 overall pick of the 2020 NBA Draft -- ineligible for the current collegiate season for accepting $11,500 in moving expenses, the governing body has reversed course ... sort of.

On Wednesday, the NCAA ruled Wiseman re-eligible before suspending him for 12 games, and mandated that he donate the same sum to a charity of his choice before being cleared to play.

This is where the NCAA's hypocrisy truly shines through. Wiseman was ruled ineligible for accepting money -- money he and his family didn't have -- to move to Memphis in high school, back when current Tigers coach Penny Hardaway coached Wiseman at East High School. Now, in order to get back on the court, the NCAA is making him dig up $11,500, even though the responsibilities and obligations required to fulfill his collegiate basketball scholarship make it all but impossible to hold down an additional job.

But we can't pay college athletes. No, that would be un-American.

Baloney.

[RELATED: Bowman has been Warriors' bright spot, looks like a keeper]

Hypocrisy aside, the NCAA coming to its senses is good news for Wiseman -- and for any team picking near the top of the upcoming draft.

That includes the Warriors, who have already scouted Wiseman up close and currently occupy the worst record in the NBA. Once he returns to action on Jan. 12, Wiseman will have an opportunity to play in as many as 16 games before any conference tournaments and March Madness. That should provide ample tape for NBA teams to evaluate someone who is widely regarded as the best big man available in the draft.

Why Warriors don't regret signing Andre Iguodala to second contract

Why Warriors don't regret signing Andre Iguodala to second contract

During the Warriors' down years -- or decades, rather -- they signed a lot of bad contracts.

Erik Dampier, Corey Maggette and Derek Fisher come to mind. Adonal Foyle continues to be affiliated with and do important work for the franchise, but he's included on that list, too.

Throughout their recent dynastic run, however, the Warriors didn't have any albatrosses on their balance sheet. They had several huge salaries, yes, but the players signed to them were worth it.

Andre Iguodala was one of those players, having signed a four-year, $48 million contract with Golden State upon arriving in a three-team trade in 2013. He signed another three-year, $48 million contract with the Warriors at the conclusion of that deal, of which he currently is in the final year of while playing for the Miami Heat.

Considering the Warriors never missed the playoffs during Iguodala's tenure with the team, reached five straight NBA Finals, won three championships and set the regular-season record for wins, both of those contracts were money well spent.

And yet, Bleacher Report's Greg Swartz listed Iguodala's second contract as the Warriors' worst free-agent signing of the last decade.

Huh?

[RUNNIN' PLAYS PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

To be fair, Swartz's entire premise was built off a methodology in which he broke down the contract value of the time that player spent with the team into cost per win share. Before Golden State traded Iguodala to the Memphis Grizzlies last offseason, he earned $30.8 million of that $48 million total with the Warriors.

Dividing that $30.8 million by Iguodala's total win shares over those two seasons, you get a value of $4.2 million in cost per win share.

Iguodala averaged 5.9 points, 3.8 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 0.9 steals over those two seasons, so on paper, his production didn't match his salary. However, looking at it through that limited scope completely ignores Iguodala's contributions that didn't end up on the stat sheet.

Throughout his career, Iguodala always has been more valuable than his stats might appear. Ask anyone who he played with on the Warriors or the coaching staff, and they'll rave about everything he provided.

In those two seasons that Iguodala spent with Golden State on the second contract, the Warriors won one NBA championship, and quite likely would have won a second had Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson not sustained serious season-ending injuries in the 2019 NBA Finals.

I'd say that alone proves Iguodala's contract was well worth it.

But that's not all.

In trading Iguodala to the Grizzlies, the Warriors received a huge $17.2 million trade exception that expires on Oct. 24. With that trade exception, Golden State could acquire any player whose 2020-21 salary is of equal or lesser value.

[RELATED: Warriors Twitter Roundtable: Ideal trade exception targets]

That trade exception arguably is the Warriors' top non-player asset at the moment, right up there with their top-five 2020 first-round draft pick and the Minnesota Timberwolves' top-three protected 2021 first-round pick. In theory, Iguodala's contributions to Golden State haven't yet concluded.

Sure, Iguodala's second contract might seem exorbitant when broken down into win shares. But if that's the worst free-agent contract the Warriors signed over the last decade, it just goes to show how monumental of a turnaround the franchise has undergone.

Steve Kerr 'a little' disappointed by key absences in 'The Last Dance'

Steve Kerr 'a little' disappointed by key absences in 'The Last Dance'

No matter when they watched "The Last Dance," basketball fans noticed a few missing faces.

Warriors coach Steve Kerr did, too. Kerr, who played on the 1997-98 Chicago Bulls team that was the subject of the 10-part documentary, wanted to see more of two starters from that squad. 

“It was a little disappointing that a couple of guys, Luc Longley and Ron Harper, didn’t get a whole lot of coverage," Kerr said earlier this week on "The Bill Simmons Podcast" (H/T Essentially Sports). "But you can only do so much obviously, and Luke lives in remote western Australia.”

[RUNNIN' PLAYS PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

Harper started all 82 games for the '97-98 Bulls, and the former guard started no fewer than 74 games during each of the Bulls' title-winning teams from 1995-96 to '97-98. But the guard's most memorable appearance in the documentary came in reference to his time with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Harper recalled saying "Yeah, f--k this bulls--t" when then-Cavs coach Lenny Wilkens asked Craig Ehlo, not Harper, to guard Michael Jordan on the final possession during Game 5 of a first-round playoff series with the Bulls.

Jordan, of course, proceeded to hit one of the most iconic buzzer-beaters and eliminate Cleveland with Ehlo guarding him.

The documentary centered on Jordan's experience above all, and Longley wasn't even as much as a one-off talking head. The former center was the first Australian to play in the NBA and arguably had the best season of his career when NBA Entertainment's cameras followed the dynastic Bulls during their last run together, but his appearances in the documentary consisted entirely of archival footage.

Kerr had a sizeable role in the documentary, with the filmmakers shining a light on his upbringing, the death of his father and his "fight" with Jordan. The Golden State coach said he's still good friends with Longley, and he quipped to Simmons there wasn't enough room in the documentary's reported $20 million budget to make the trip to see the big man.

"I don’t know what the budget was for ‘The Last Dance,’ but it wasn’t big enough to fly to remote western Australia ... and go interview him," Kerr joked. "But I would have liked to see him and Ron get a little more love just because they were starters and huge players on those teams.”

[RELATED: Draymond takes offense to Chuck's 3-point shooter comment]

Travel would've been impossible due to restrictions imposed by the coronavirus pandemic, but ESPN pushing up the documentary's original June airdate to April meant that the filmmakers were still working on it as the series aired. A Longley appearance via video chat would've been jarring, considering how every other interviewee's shots were set up.

Considering the documentary's ubiquity plus Longley's (and Harper's) lack of screen time, Kerr wouldn't have minded much.